October 1, 2015, Thursday:
An overview of the book “Modern Romance,” by Aziz Ansari and NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg that examines how cell phones and the internet have impacted how we communicate for dating and romance. See the Prezi here.

Stephanie Coontz, expert on history of marriage
3:30-17:00 watch in class. Overview of historic marriages until the contemporary emphasis on mutual satisfaction.


Assignment: Blog posting: see syllabus for requirements such as word count, academic citation, links, videos, pics. Pick a dating website or an online dating issue and post your idea and name in the comments section below. Be sure to include a sociological perspective on your topic: include as many relevant statistics, talk about demographics, institutions, and power as it relates to the topic. Include at least one academic citation. You can cite additional newspaper stories and such.

Be ready to report back on your topic for a minute or two.


Dating Online

OkTrends is the blog cite where data from OkCupid is compiled and written up.

Prezi on Dataclysm: Who We Are… When We Think No One’s Looking, Christian Rudder


Paula England is a preeminent researcher on the hookup culture among college students across the country at 18 public and private universities. In her video, she talks about the gender gap in the hookup culture in regards to sexual pleasure and what men and women are getting out of this phenomenon.

On September 24th, Thursday, we are reading the article by Kathleen A. Bogle, “Hooking Up and Dating: A Comparison.” In this article she outlines that in the cultural shift from the more historic dating script to that of the hookup culture, the most important change has been the role of how sexual behavior fits into the equation: whereas with dating it came after a series of dates, in the hookup culture it can come at any point, including in the beginning before any dating has taken place, and that it might never take place. She also argues that hooking up and dating take place during different periods in one’s life: while hooking up may be more common during college or young adult years, dating can take place later on, when someone is more serious in their life and relationships.

Related Videos:

Feminist filmmaker Therese Shechter analyzes the social construction of the idea of female virginity in her documentary, How to Lose Your Virginity. This website provides sex education for teens: scarleteen.

The short documentary below, Slutwalk: A Day in Her Heels, overviews the activism behind the North American Slutwalk movement, which addresses the issue of rape culture. What percentage of women and men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18? For American women, how many will be sexually abused during their lifetime? See statistics here at WOAR

Most recent study “23% of Women Report Sexual in College, Study Finds

Untitled1Welcome to Sociology of the Family 130. During this first week of class please read through the syllabus throughly, looking over all assignments, grading requirements, and the upcoming schedule. Be sure you are enrolled in Blackboard and able to access the readings there. You will be assigned to a group in Blackboard as well, let me know if that doesn’t show up.

Icebreakers1) In pairs of two or three students, introduce the other student by listing their name, major, year, and one way in which their family is (statistically) average/mainstream and one way in which their family is (statistically) unique.

2) In groups at your table, choose one social institution to examine. Discuss the ways in which this institution would be addressed differently by sociologists versus psychologists. How does this institution intersect with issues related to demographics and social power.

Class on Thursday, September 10th is canceled. In order to repair for class on September 15th, Tuesday, please establish your own WordPress.com account and begin learning how to create your own website, chose a design and title it. Create a page (see difference between page and posts) called Biography and post a picture of yourself. Begin drafting the biography assignment that we will go over in class on the 15th. Check out the following clips as examples for what to focus on:

  • Documentary Clips: Yo Soy Boricua and Family Name
    think about your own family, ethnic and cultural identity, and demographic background
  • September 17: My family background

Include the following: Your full name, major, year, extra-curricular activities. Have an opening into your story and a sociological theme about your family identity that you follow. Talk about demographics (gender, race, religion, ethnicity, location, class, etc.), institutions (education, government, military, economy, medical, etc.), and social power dynamics (how is power exercised in your family and how do you learn about it), as it relates to your story. List as many as you can, in detail. How does the stories in the documentaries Family Name and Yo Soy Boricua resonate with your own? What is sociologically significant about your family? Mention some statistics related to your family, in order to contextualize it. (Include links, pictures, and videos).


Each posting should include a minimum word count (500) and include links. The grading will be based on how well written it is (7 points) and the inclusion of appropriate, quality links (3 points).

Be sure to read the syllabus fully before our next class meeting. We may have a brief pop quiz over the syllabus. Make sure you understand the assignments, readings, and Blackboard.

Please do come to class having the readings, having notes on the readings, and speaking points about your response to the readings and questions.

Here’s some interesting article(s) that cover topics related to the sociological imagination. 

10 Insidious Ways White Supremacy Shows Up in Our Everyday Lives

Time Wise: White Privilege, Racism, White Denial & The Cost of Inequality

The Structure of Social Groups (definitions)

(Group discussion: Be ready to define/example any of the following terms)

Social organization
Social structure
Social relationship
Master status
Social control
Social group
Primary group
Secondary group
“iron cage” of rationality
the group affects perceptions
the group affects convictions
the group affects health and life
the group affects behavior
social system
social stratification

Groups can post their presentations in the comments section below.

This week in class, we will be discussing the economic context for American families and its impact. How do families negotiate work and family life? What is the impact of the second shift on families? We will be reading chapter 9: Work and Family Life on Tuesday, and Chapter 10: Family and the Economy on Thursday. In addition, we will watch the documentary Inequality for All.

The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home, Arlie Hochschild, with Anne Machung



In this article, the Holts family is followed by the authors and their story represents the ways in which men and women negotiate their division of household labor, or do not. Nancy felt she was doing 80% of the housework and 90 percent of the childcare. Evan felt he did 40 percent of the housework and 30 percent of the childcare. How did Nancy and Evan negotiate this workload among themselves?

In order to understand this issue more, we will have two groups focus on this article: Groups 1 and 2.

Group 1: Demonstrate visually (through performing, drawing on the white board, or through images) this issue of how men and women view the division of household labor. Present this to the class.

Group 2: Find statistics on the division of household labor. Some international comparisons with Europe or other countries. GLBT families and household labor statistics. A few discussion questions.

pamelaThe Rhetoric and Reality of “Opting Out,” Pamela Stone

Stone interviewed 54 women in a variety of high powered professions, and studied their stories and opportunities for work-family balance. In the end, these women chose to quit their jobs and stay at home, because of unyielding husbands who were basically absent at home because of their high demand jobs, and an inflexible workplace that did not provide flexible options.

Group 3: Draw on the white board, or enact, or demonstrate visually, the main topics of this chapter. Be sure to cover the following ideas: opting-out, choice gap, concerted cultivation, elder-care, absentee fathers/husbands, ideal worker.

Group 4: find statistics on the main topics included in the article: percentage of women who opt out, what careers they held, flexible workplaces, family policies, and cost of childcare. Discussion questions.

One Sick Child Away from Being Fired,” Joan C. Williams 

This article is based on ninety-nine cases of union arbitrations caused by workers being fired because they left work to take care of a sick child, or to fulfill their childcare duties. Most workers, however, are not unionized (87%), and therefore have less protection than these workers. Blue and pink collar workers have rigid schedules and can be dismissed for leaving or arriving late. Many parents do what the author calls, “tag teams” to take care of child care, when the couple works at different times so that one of them can be home to take care of the kids. When this fragile network fails, it causes problems at work, including termination. Many rely on family members for child care, as the costs for a one year old child in day care can cost as much as the local state college tuition.

Group 5: Represent the chapter visually, through a drawing, enactment or another method.

Group 6: Provide some statistics that the article does and does not cover. Discussion questions.

On Tuesday, group 2 will be discussing various diverse family formations. They will post their presentation in the comments section below. Remember that all group presentations will be on the exam.

On Thursday, we will be reviewing Prezi.com for our upcoming group projects. Each group will create a Prezi for their upcoming presentations, so this will give us a chance to get on the same page with the software and out group members.

On Tuesday, group 1 will give their presentation on foster care and adoption. Their presentation and information will be posted here in this blog posting comments. You can access their Prezi here. Their presentation information will be on the exam, so you can check back here as a study guide as well.

A few highlights of their presentation:

  • Foster care is temporary whereas adoption is permanent
  • African American children are 41% of foster care population, whites 40%, Hispanic 15%
  • 21% of adoptions are transracial
  • Reasons for adoption: infertility, desire more children, parent was adopted themselves, couple has previously adopted a child, single individuals who want children
  • Same sex couples face institutional discrimination; Florida is the only state to outright ban same sex couples, other states limit adoption to married couples
  • Types of adoptions: public, private, kinship, step parent, transracial, international

We will also watch the beginning of the documentary Aging Out. Individuals who turn 18 while in foster care are those who are “aging out.” The numbers range from 20-30 thousand per year, out of a total foster care population of 400,000.

There is a really interested documentary about international surrogacy called “Google Baby” that shows the world of bringing together sperm, eggs, and surrogate women who live in India and produce babies that are genetically of their mother and father adopting couples.

5E9A7894Dr. Brian Frank, our guest speaker on Thursday October 16, 2014, is a member of Lambda Family Circle, an organization that supports GLBT families. He spoke with our Sociology of the Family class as well as Sociology of Deviant Behavior during the fall of 2013 to share the story of his family. He and his partner Steven adopted their son in New York state through the foster care system. His personal story sheds light on the sociological processes surrounding the creation of family in the United States. You can access his PowerPoint presentation here: Siena Fall 2015

In class, we will be watching The Business of Being Born, a documentary that overviews the crisis in the medical establishment in regards to birthing in the United States. Reading comes from the book, Cut it Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America by Theresa Morris, which explores the question: why are c-section rates skyrocketing in the United States?

In class on Tuesday, October 7, we will be covering four articles that discuss research about both marriage and divorce. While the divorce rate in the United States hoovers around 50% for first marriages, it is not a random happening, but based influenced by particular sociological issues. Our discussion will be based on this prezi.com that covers the four articles.

If interested in Stephanie Coontz’s discussion on the history of marriage, see the following video:

The Gottman Institute is a renowned organization that studies and presents on issues of relationship and marriage satisfaction. Their claim is the ability to predict whether a couple will divorce or not, based on laboratory observations of how couples fight and resolve conflict. In addition, while researchers agree that marriages are based on different perspectives (each couple member) and on good and bad aspects of the relationship. For Gottman, he feels that couples need a ration of five positive traits for each negative trait in order to have a happy, healthy, and long lasting marriage.

In this video, John Gottman talks about their research on “the masters” of relationships.


On Thursday, we will have our exam take place in class.


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